Genocide of Ethnic Papuans: For whom & what was UN created?
Genocide continuing against Ethnic Papuans…For whom and for what was the UN created?
by Selpius Bobii | Abepura State Prison,
1 August 2013
West Papua is continuously burning. It has become the arena for the playing out of a conflict between a number of parties. The consequence of the fundamental political rights of the nation of West Papua having been pawned unilaterally by the Netherlands, USA and United Nations (UN) to the Republic of Indonesia. Clearly conflict in West Papua between supporters of ‘Merah Putih’ (Red and White) and supporters of the Morning Star –or in other words conflict between the Indonesian Pancasila Ideology and Papuan Mabruk Ideology – is escalating. This is a conflict that has its roots in the action of the Netherlands, the USA and the UN when they annexed the independence of the nation of Papua into the Republic of Indonesia in the 1960s.
Memories of suffering over the last 50 years have left traces in the souls of every single indigenous Papuan who has been a victim of the violence of the Republic of Indonesia (RI). This conflict has continued relentlessly since annexation, continues to exist now and will undoubtedly continue without ceasing as long as the nation of Papua remains within RI. With the conflict becoming increasingly intensive, so are the memories of suffering for indigenous Papuans.
The conflict arising from the tension between the Pancasila and Mabruk ideologies is ablaze in every valley, every mountain, every coastal beach and alleyway of Papua and it’s scorching the souls of human beings. People who have done no wrong, nothing to deserve this. The land of West Papua is known as the ‘lungs of the world’ but even its oxygen reserves so badly needed by the world are being increasingly destroyed by the many logging and mining companies that have been given permission to operate in Papua by the State of Indonesia.
The consequences of this conflict are seen in two main ways. Firstly in the violations of human rights by RI against indigenous Papuans. Violations that are so widespread that the results have led to genocide against ethnic Papuans. Secondly the consequences of the conflict are seen in the problem of injustices in every dimension of Papuan life including discrimination, marginalization and indigenous Papuans being made a minority in the land of their ancestors.
This has been the face of West Papua during the past under Indonesia, remains the face of West Papua today and will be the face of West Papua into the future for as long as the nation of Papua remains within the clutches of RI. The present situation has been no accident and in fact has been the desire of the State of Indonesia since the nation of West Papua was annexed into RI unilaterally in the 1960’s. As Indigenous Papuans watch being played out around them the conflicts of interest involved, they are reminded of the statement of General Ali Murtopo at the moment he was appointed by the then Indonesian President Sukarno to take by force the nation of Papua into RI. The General’s words were ‘We only love the land and waters and natural resources of Papua, but not its people. If you people of Papua want independence we will tell USA to relocate you to the moon.’
RI certainly fell in love with Papua’s land and waters so fertile and majestic and it’s natural wealth so great, but Indonesia has never endeared itself to those who own the country, who inhabit the land of West Papua. So at the same time as taking over the land and waters and seizing Papua’s natural wealth, RI has also been killing - directly and indirectly – the traditional owners of the country. The Republic of Indonesia hates indigenous Papuans and its agents terrorize, rape, torture, insult and butcher them without remorse. This is the truth of what has happened until now in Papua under Indonesia, what is still happening and what will continue to happen as long as West Papua remains within RI.
To come out from these many forms of tyranny under the colonial domination of RI and its allies, the people of Papua have struggled from day one under Indonesia. Papuans are still today struggling and will continue to struggle without ceasing until their rights are recognized as the firstborn peoples of West Papua, of a land that was taken by force into RI as a result of the conspiracy of a number of colonizing powers of that time.
The harrowing path of this struggle under Indonesia has claimed so many lives in the past, still continues to claim lives and for certain will claim many more lives into the future. The loss of possessions, time and energy that indigenous Papuans have suffered has been an enormous loss and burden for the community; and how much more so the agony from the widespread loss of human lives lost by those fallen due to bullets of the armed forces. These losses at all levels have continued relentlessly. Going into the future under RI rule indigenous Papuans will continue to suffer the same losses of endless time, energy, material resources and the waste on constantly having to think about the problems and live in constant fear. How many more innocent human souls will be lost due to Papua remaining under the colonial domination of RI is hard to say?
It has now been more than 50 long years of struggling for liberation and yet we have still not reached the goal of the recognition of our full sovereignty. Throughout this time the nation of West Papua has cried out without ceasing to the world but our voices have fallen unheard on deserted grounds largely without any real reactions or responses from the powers that be. There have been responses from humans who care about the people of Papua however the effects of that has not been sufficient in order to reduce the frequency and extent of incidents of conflict in the land of Papua. There have also been many actions taken to help Papua by humans whose hearts are touched by our suffering, yet that also hasn’t been sufficient to bring an end to the conflict between the political ideologies of RI and the nation of West Papua. All too often reactions of the powers that be have involved just talking about improving the Indonesian system and about the provision of public services in Papua and improving the failures in welfare. Yet the welfare referred to is but a sham, an illusion. The reality is that until this time there have been no concrete steps taken by nations of the world or by the United Nations to break the chains of the colonial domination by RI and its allies over Papua. The nation of West Papua has always asked for sovereignty yet it has only been dealt-out things that destroy its people This is ironic, however it is the reality which the nation of Papua has experienced this last 50 years and which it is still experiencing and will continue to experience for as long as the nation of Papua remains within the colonial domination of Indonesia.
At one level it feels like there is no way out for the nation of West Papua from this circle of conflict. Yet at the same time the nation of West Papua will never let go of its conviction that there must surely be somehow a way out of this most troubled period of colonial domination that enchains every Papuan person. That there must surely be a solution to bring about that peace of prosperity of body and soul that all humans so long for and which recognizes the sovereignty of the nation of West Papua.
United Nations with its headquarters in the USA was created to protect and respect all peoples on this earth. The UN has the role of upholding human rights, truth, justice, democracy and to maintain peace in the world. However it was in fact the UN that sacrificed the nation of Papua in the 1960’s and the UN is still now sacrificing Papua. The sad truth is that the UN will continue to sacrifice the nation of Papua for as long as there are no real steps taken by UN to break the chains of the colonial domination by RI and its allies.
According to the assessment by the nation of Papua, the UN has not to this point fulfilled its role in the upholding of human rights and in particular in the case of West Papua. In the 1960’s the United Nations acted as a bridge in the realization of the political and economic interests of Indonesia and the USA with the annexation of the nation of Papua into the Republic of Indonesia. PT Freeport in Timika, Papua became the authentic proof that there was indeed a conspiracy of interests of USA and Indonesia at play in that annexation. The UN pawned West Papua to the Republic of Indonesia for unilateral economic, political and security reasons. From this fact we cannot but ask the question ‘Is it possible that UN was in fact created to act as a bridge for the colonizing nations to take over land and waters of other nations, to seize their natural resources and arbitrarily annihilate their indigenous communities?’
Following the pawning of the nation of West Papua to the State of Indonesia, UN then not only allowed, but in fact supported the State of Indonesia in a continued colonization of the indigenous community of West Papua. From the time of annexation of Papua until this date the UN has never applied firm sanctions against the State of Indonesia for its violations of human rights and state crimes against the people of Papua. The various bodies of the UN until this time have only made recommendations to RI and requested RI’s attention to and the implementation of certain matters. However even that has occurred only when there has been certain parties drawing attention to cases that had occurred in Indonesia. The fact is that RI never really implemented the recommendations from the various bodies of the UN in any case.
The State of Indonesia as a member of the UN has failed to implement the general principles and ideals that are contained within the UN General Declaration of Human Rights and other international legal covenants. RI has even failed to implement the base laws of its own 1945 Constitution. The failure of RI to protect and respect the dignity of Papuan human beings is also a reflection of the failure of the UN to encourage and develop the State of Indonesia as a member of the UN abiding by each of the UN’s covenants. Furthermore it is the Papuan nation’s assessment that the UN has not fully fulfilled its moral responsibilities and has failed to protect and respect the dignity of human beings in West Papua. As until this time UN has allowed and effectively supported RI as a member of the UN in colonizing the indigenous community of Papua.
If the UN truly protected and struggled for the upholding of human rights then of course the nation of Papua would have never become a victim of human rights violations. If the UN truly struggled for justice then of course the nation of Papua would never have become the victim of these injustices as UN would surely have implemented its required tasks justly at the time the Netherlands and Indonesia were fighting over the forced takeover of West Papua. And if the UN truly upheld democracy then of course West Papua would never have become a victim of a failed democracy that resulted in manipulation of the Act of Free Choice in 1969 with resultant moral and legal flaws.
Yet as that is clearly the case, the question begs for what exactly was the UN was created and for whom? If the UN truly cared about the humanitarian emergency that is now taking place in West Papua under cover and hidden from the world in circumstances that are most horrifying indeed, then would not the UN have already taken real steps to bring about a humanitarian and security intervention in West Papua? Or is the UN waiting first and perhaps might carry out a humanitarian and security intervention later after a large proportion of the indigenous people of Papua have already been wiped out from the country of their ancestors?
What sort of model of humanitarian emergency is the UN actually waiting for to intervene? Does it need Papuans to convince them further that every moment somewhere in Papua an indigenous person is dying due either directly or indirectly to Indonesia’s colonial domination? Perhaps they person has been intentionally poisoned, or perhaps the result of a vehicle collision due to the overcrowding in the cities with so many transmigrants. Or perhaps due to drinking alcohol that has such a high percentage of alcohol content that it’s lethal for humans and yet which is so frequently sold throughout Papua due to not having been banned for general sale by the authorities. Or perhaps due to HIV/AIDS or the inadequate or half-heartedly provided health services. Or perhaps they are dying because of all too common nutritional deficiencies or the effects of torture, excessive trauma intentionally imposed or due to other structural causes of poverty. Perhaps they were shot dead, kidnapped, murdered and so the list goes on.
RI’s refusal to give access to international journalists, foreign human rights workers or international NGOs in general to visit the land of West Papua (such as RI’s refusal to allow the UN Special Reporter of freedom of expression Frank LaRue in early 2013 to visit) is indeed proof that the land of Papua is a ‘No-Go Zone’ for foreigners. The result being that the humanitarian emergency in the land of Papua is hidden from the eyes of the world. A humanitarian disaster that is most horrifying and gruesome and which threatens the very existence of indigenous Papuans in the land of their own ancestors.
The State of Indonesia has undertaken basically four approaches to destroy the nation of indigenous West Papuans. These being the security approach, the legal approach, the socio-cultural approach and the welfare illusion approach (that is full of discrimination biased in favor of transmigrants). Any space for true democracy in the land of Papua has been tightly closed through the intended effects of various rules that amount to unethical trickery. There is no space whatsoever for indigenous Papuans to demonstrate or to peacefully express their opinions openly in public, a fact that has resulted in countless Papuan human rights activists have been arrested and imprisoned over the last 50 years. The Indonesian armed forces even ban and forcefully dismiss gatherings for worship in open fields where people want to gather together to remember historical incidents in the land of West Papua (a recent example of which occurred on 1 December 2012 at the site of the grave of the late Theys H. Eluay). At the same time overt and covert military operations are constantly occurring in Papua, such as that presently occurring in the Puncak Jaya and Paniai regions.
In order to suppress international criticism of the many forms of state evil being practiced by RI against indigenous Papuans and at the same time to suppress any aspirations for Papuan independence, in 2001 Indonesia unilaterally forced the application of a law that saw the implementation of Special Autonomy in Papua. This occurred regardless of the fact that indigenous Papuans had firmly rejected that package. That has now been in place for some 12 years without any positive changes, therefore proving its total failure to protect, respect and uphold the fundamental rights of indigenous Papuans including the right to life. It is certainly no answer to the issue of the political right of the nation of Papua to full independence. At an evaluation of the failure of Special Autonomy in Papua held by the Papuan Peoples Council (MRP – Papua) together with the West Papuan Peoples Council (MRP West Papua) at which some 300 indigenous Papuans were present (at the Sahid Entrop Hotel in Jayapura on 25-27 July 2013), it was concluded that “Special Autonomy in Papua has failed and the Indonesian Government and Papua now need to hold dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party and which needs to be held in a neutral location.”
RI is at this time unilaterally changing the laws of Special Autonomy in Papua to become ‘Special Autonomy Plus’ (also referred to as Papuan Governance Regulations). RI’s real goals in doing so are to suppress political support for Papuan aspirations for independence which are now reverberating in all corners of the world, whilst at the same time prolonging Indonesia’s colonial domination in the land of West Papua. Indigenous Papuans have firmly rejected all Indonesia’s political packaged policies to date including the new Special Autonomy Plus and rather have called for independence. The forced unilateral implementation of Special Autonomy Plus is a political package that will bring nothing but destruction and disaster throughout the lives of indigenous Papuans. It must be stressed that the primary problem in West Papua is not a problem of welfare or food and water, but rather that the rights of the indigenous nation of Papuans have not been recognized by Indonesia, the UN and other nations of the world. The nation of West Papua rejects and will continue to reject all political policy packages such as Special Autonomy Plus that RI wants to apply in Papua. The nation of west Papua will continue to struggle until the independence of West Papua that was stolen in the 1960’s is finally recognized.
If one looks superficially without investigating further, it’s possible to be deceived and think that things are relatively calm in the land of Papua, however the underlying current of the covert military operations is powerful and swift, removing all that gets in its path like gushing floodwaters. There is no space to move for human rights activists and at every moment activists are being watched by the endless spies of Indonesia who work just for money or material things, a fact which is most saddening indeed.
All approaches of RI to the issue of Papua - whether the security, legal, socio-cultural or welfare illusion approaches - are carried out in ways that are systematic, planned and measured. With the State’s main actors being the military, police, National Indonesian Intelligence, the Armed Forces Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS),the State Intelligence Coordinating Agency (BAKIN) and pro-Indonesian groups. It is precisely this which is causing the humanitarian emergency in Papua. All rooted in the annexation of Papua’s sovereign independence into RI in the 1960’s. Papuans are being killed in the name of guarding Indonesia’s sovereignty and the very act of killing of Papuans within this framework (i.e. of guarding RI’s sovereignty) according to legal practice in Indonesia is legally justifiable. A stance that is absolutely unacceptable from either a perspective of morality or that of international law.
The colonial domination by the State of Indonesia in the land of Papua is as noted systematic, planned and measured. It is the UN which is the international organization with the legitimacy and influence to be able to take real steps to save the nation of West Papua. If the harrowing humanitarian emergency presently occurring in Papua is allowed to continue by UN and other nations of the world despite the UN being responsible for the protection and respect of human rights, then it has been predicted based on research that the indigenous people of Papua will be extinct in less than 20-30 years from now (refer footnote).
This hidden humanitarian emergency in West Papua must be stopped immediately so as to protect and uphold the dignity of humanity in Papua above all other interests. To that end and with this open letter written from behind prison bars as we now draw towards 51 years since the New York Agreement was signed (15 August 1962 – 15 August 2013) it is conveyed that:
1) The UN has the moral and legal responsibility to bring to an end the root political problems in the nation of Papua together with other problems that have arisen as a result of those root problems including marginalization, discrimination and making indigenous Papuans a minority. Problems that have resulted from actions by RI that have been planned and which are measurable. Problems which are having the end consequence of amounting to a slow moving but certain genocide against ethnic Papuans.
2) The UN is urged to
form an ad-hoc team to visit West Papua for the purposes of
gathering proof of this hidden humanitarian disaster and its
3) The UN is urged to form a humanitarian and security intervention team to take control of security in the land of Papua within the framework of dealing with the humanitarian emergency that has been hidden from the world and bringing a closure to the problems around the political and legal status of the nation of Papua.
4) The UN is urged to facilitate the holding of non-conditional dialogue between the nation of Indonesia and the nation of West Papua as equal parties, so as to find a dignified solution.
5) The nations of this region (the MSG) Group and the nations of the regions of Africa, the Caribean and the Pacific (ACP) are urged to unite so as to bring the problem of West Papua to the official mechanisms of the UN.
6) That the UN together with all nations of the world without further delay acknowledge at law the sovereign independence of the State and Nation of West Papua; and furthermore that the UN in the immediate future take the necessary steps to facilitate the restoration of the power of administrative governance from the State of Indonesia back to the State of West Papua.
7) In the instance that the realization of the recognition of the independence of the nation of West Papua at law is considered onerous and complicated, then it is urged that alternatively the UN form an ad-hoc body to facilitate the holding of a repeat referendum for the indigenous people of Papua due to the Act of Free Choice held in 1969 having been legally and morally defective.
This open letter is provided for the attention and follow-up action by all parties involved that are of good heart, in order to save the ethnic Papuan race from marginalization, discrimination, being made a minority and from the slow moving but certain ethnic genocide which is now occurring.
‘The saving of human souls that are enchained under the tyranny of oppression is the highest of all laws’.
For the attention and assistance of all who care about our situation, our most since appreciation.
‘Unity without limits! Struggle until victorious!’
For further data and information supporting the claim that the land of Papua is now in a state of humanitarian emergency hidden from the eyes of the world see:
i).The Annihilation of Indigenous West Papuans – A Challenge and Hope, English version: www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1303/S00152/annihilation-of-indigenous-west-papuans-challenge-and-hope.htm Indonesian version: www.justiceinpapua.blogspot.com/2013/03/etnis-bangsa-papua-sedang-musnah_9469.html?m=1&zx=ddd8043663e3855a ;
ii). Papua, Victim of a Conspiracy of Interests, Indonesian version: papuapost.com/2013/07/8095/# ;English version: www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1307/S00084/papua-victim-of-a-conspiracy-of-interests.htm;
iii). "UN as the Protector or Abuser of Human Rights? Indonesian version: www.tigidoovoice.blogspot.com/2013/03/pbb-sebagai-pelindung-atau_7.html?m=1; English version: www.dissidentvoice.org/2013/03/un-as-protector-or-abuser-of-human-rights/